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Thomas Drinkhall

Thomas completed a placement year with Cleveland Potash Ltd.

Thomas Drinkhall

BA (Hons) International Management

I always wanted to do a work placement while studying. In fact one of the reasons I selected this degree was the sandwich year option. Early in the second year our lecturers and careers service began to provide information and outline the concept. I applied to companies with placement schemes and also sent a covering letter and CV to local companies in the hope that they could create a short-term position.

I secured four potential positions – three from placement schemes and one from a local mining business, Cleveland Potash Ltd. It’s important to remember that for every application success there were ten failures. For me, it was important to persevere.

I experienced a range of interview processes including face-to-face, telephone and online interviews as well as assessment days, which were usually the final stage. Once I decided to accept the placement offer from Cleveland Potash, I met the managing director – we discussed my specialisms and interests, and they designed my placement around me.

I held an assistant role in the management team that allowed me to move between departments and sites. I worked on a broad range of projects in a variety of disciplines at both Boulby and Teesport locations – mainly logistics, operations, procurement and organisational change development. Projects included writing manager’s rules, berth and loader utilisation, supervisors’ operations log sheet, supplier identification using a Kraljic Matrix, remote offsite storage, vendor managed inventory, purchasing procedures and a project management procedure.

My placement year provided a developmental opportunity to apply the theories and concepts from my degree, in the real world. I also developed other skills during my placement – something I didn’t fully realise until I returned to study. This placement has enhanced my future employability and professional skills to a level above the average graduate. And the skills I have developed will help me complete my studies and any further education I may choose to do.